April 2, 2021
Joy in Good Friday
What does joy have to do with Good Friday? Well, I hope you, at least, get today off work, so maybe that causes a little joy. Or maybe you are so excited about Easter you are feeling joyful, even though Good Friday is a somber day. Today is a day we remember pain, suffering, crucifixion, and death. We started Lent with Ash Wednesday (from dust to dust), and it seems death has always been on our minds these 40 days leading to Easter. But joy is here also, even on Good Friday.
As we study the spiritual disciplines and practices, they often seem a little bleak. But let us not forget, we are also called to feast and be joyful. The night before he was crucified, Jesus held the Last Supper with his disciples. In this meal we are told to remember Jesus through the sacrament of communion. As Christians, we remember communion as a feast – not that we overeat or drink too much of the body and blood of Jesus – but a feast of the love of GOD. The bread and the cup remind us of the great love our Lord has for us, and in turn, the great love we ought to extend to each other. Communion is a feast of love. When we gather in services for Maundy Thursday or Good Friday, we first remember God’s great love for us. We draw together in his holy name to receive from him the most cherished of gifts: grace. Then, as we gather and are reminded of this tremendous gift, we look to see our sisters and brothers also under the roof of God’s house. We see his children so loved and so dear to him. We see people from all nations and backgrounds loved by God, accepted as we are, and we extend that love and grace to one another.
Good Friday is a day of mourning, but we remember the sacrifice of God on this day, the sacrifice that allows us to feast joyfully. Christianity is not a religion defined by our asceticism or self-discipline, but by our joy. We sit in the grace of Jesus, arm in arm, and feast on the joy of this life.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us remember that we are called to feast! We are encouraged by our Lord to remember his sacrifice of love, that we might find freedom in Christ. Good Friday is a somber day, but the joyful feast of Easter is coming. Christ suffered so that we might have joy. As Jesus said in John 10:10b:
“I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
May we be people of joy. May we be a church that feasts together, enjoys the gifts of God together, and rests in his grace together. Amen.